Things to do
FESTIVAL OF CULTURE: UCL puts on one heck of a programme for its Festival of Culture, which begins today. Highlights include a chance to sample new VR technology, tours of UCL’s Library, and Helen Pankhurst — great-grandaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst — in conversation… and that’s just today. Various locations and prices, some events require booking, 3-7 June
POETRY EXHIBITION: The Poetry Café exhibits artist Daniel Goodwin and poet Colin Pink’s new collection The Ventriloquist Dummy’s Lament. It addresses contemporary themes of environmental sustainability, social fragmentation, and the struggle for human dignity, through a combination of woodcuts and poetic form. Copies of the book (published on 5 June by Against the Grain Poetry Press) are available to buy. The Poetry Cafe (Covent Garden), free, just turn up, 3-29 June
SKULLPTURE: See artworks created by students at the Slade School of Fine Art in new exhibition, Skullpture. The works are responses to items in the Grant Museum’s zoological collections and are displayed alongside historic skeletons and skulls. Grant Museum of Zoology (Warren Street), free, just turn up, 3 June-7 September
GUN SALUTE: If you’re in the Green Park vicinity at lunchtime, brace yourself for some loud bangs. The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fire a 41-round gun salute to mark the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation. Green Park, free, just turn up, 12pm
FREE FITNESS: If you’re full of beans on a Monday night… well, you’re a better person than us. You’re also welcome at Project Awesome, a free fitness event with big tunes and high fives, aimed at all fitness levels. London Bridge City, free, just turn up, 6.30pm
LIFE DRAWING: Refine your sketching technique at a Flesh & Bones life drawing class. It’s led by a qualified tutor, and artists of all abilities are welcome with materials provided. The models take on a different exotic theme each time — past themes have included burlesque and circus. Hackney Picturehouse, £15, book ahead, 7pm
VICTORIA’S DIAMONDS: Jewellery curator Richard Edgcumb talks through some of the new items on display — some gifts, others loans — in the museum’s refurbished jewellery gallery. Highlights include Queen Victoria’s sapphire and diamond coronet, and a Cartier-designer gold pendant of Paddington Bear. V&A Museum (South Kensington), £15-£18, book ahead, 7pm-8.45pm
INDIE FILMS: Spend your Monday evening watching a series of festival quality short films on a range of topics, with filmmakers and special guests on hand to take part in Q&A sessions. You’re encouraged to vote for your favourite film at the end of the night. JuJu’s Bar & Stage (Spitalfields), £7, book ahead, 7pm-9.30pm (sponsor)
UTTER CIRCUS: Part of Last Word Festival, Utter Circus asks what happens when a circus artist speaks? The show is split into three short performances featuring static trapeze, psychedelic disco and other art forms, all combined with text. Roundhouse (Camden), £10, book ahead, 7.15pm
NEON LIFE DRAWING: This life drawing session takes place under UV light, with artists given neon pastels to recreate the models. They’re decked out in fluorescent body paints and strike some unusual poses, far from your usual life drawing session. Queen of Hoxton, £14, book ahead, 7.30pm-9.30pm
FOLK MODERN: Five local acoustic acts are specially chosen to take to the stage at Folk Modern, a monthly music open mic night. It’s curated by compere and performer Steve Folk, who picks the artists based on the sincerity of their music. Ritzy (Brixton), free, book ahead, 8pm
Tube ponderings with Barry Heck
Our resident tube fancier dishes out daily thoughts on the London Underground.
Mr Aquila John Williams may well have been the first person convicted of defacing an underground train with naughty words. The following incident was reported on 12 March 1864, just a year after the first line opened:
The obscenity was not recorded for posterity, unfortunately. Judge Mr Yardley naively concluded that “the publicity the case would receive would be effectual in preventing such conduct in future”. I chanced across this one while browsing the British Newspaper Archive.